Saturday, November 7, 2009

Romance in the Air

In his book The Undercover Revolution Iain H. Murray describes how the fiction of men like Thomas Hardy and H.G. Wells corrupted Britian. It is an amazing analysis, and it got me thinking how some older British fiction might, by God's grace, be resurrected to make us better.

Alas in our day we are hopelessly confused about Biblical femininity. But O.F. Walton was not as confused as we are. In her book The lost Clue, first published in 1907, she describes a gracious young woman named Marjorie Douglas. Her sister Phyllis serves as a foil:
"After tea they had games and music. Phyllis was very clever at the latter and sang well. She was not at all like her sister, very much prettier most people said, but it was beauty of feature rather than of expression. Kenneth thought she had rather a discontented face, and she moved wearily, when she was asked to do anything by her mother, as though every exertion, however small, cost her an effort."

In contrast, "It was Marjorie who was the life of the party, who saw at a glance what everyone wanted, who was ready to run here and there for them all; it was Marjorie who carried Carl up to bed, who picked up her mother's ball of wool when it fell, and who kept her eyes open all the time to see what she could do for others, and how she could help them all."

Earlier in the book we see Marjorie bringing a basket of pudding and beef tea (she was a good cook) to old Mary, one of six widows that she took turns visiting.

Later Marjorie's mother, a widow herself, runs into financial straits, and it is Marjorie who moves to the dismal mining town of Daisy Bank to make a little money at the dismal Holtby home as a mother's helper. At the end of the first day we read: "it was late when she got to bed that night, and she felt almost as if life in that house would be more than she could bear. And then she remembered that she had come there willing to do God's will, whatever that might be, and she determined to make the best of the home to which she had come, and to do her utmost to brighten it."
Soon "Miss Duggie" had little ones on her lap, as she read Bible stories and sang children's hymns. And she befriended a dying old woman, Mother Hotchkiss, assuring her that her sins would be forgiven if only she would confess them to God.

Marjorie is a picture of Biblical feminity. And none of us are surprised that Kenneth, mentioned above (handsome Captain Fortescue) is as fascinated with Marjorie as we are. We haven't finished this read-a-loud yet, but we all smell romance in the air.